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Totino-Grace goaltender Jack Burn is pressured by Eden Prairie attackman Brooks Armitage, who scored five goals in the 15-2 victory. Photo by Helen Nelson

Among life’s great mysteries, questionable lacrosse state seedings probably don’t trump, say, the Bermuda Triangle, in terms of intrigue.
 
Still, no one seems quite sure how Totino-Grace was seeded ahead of Eden Prairie, including the coaches responsible for the determining the MSHSL state boys lacrosse tournament pecking order.
 
“We can sugarcoat it all we want because someone thinks they are being clever with the seeding,” Totino-Grace coach Justin Hoban said about his team being seeded second and Eden Prairie third in the four-team field, “but they’ve been a top five team all year and we’ve been outside the top 10.”
 
Clearly, Eden Prairie, with just two losses to highly ranked teams while playing a much more difficult regular season schedule than Totino-Grace, was the heavy favorite. 
 
“For us to win this game there is a very specific formula of how this game needed to go,” Hoban said. “Everything that could have gone wrong for us did go wrong early.”

Charlie Venable, one of Eden Prairie's "Hobbits," scored a goal and had two assists against Totino-Grace. Photo by Helen Nelson

In a magical display of offensive firepower, No. 5-ranked Eden Prairie (15-2) scored three goals in 49 seconds early in the first quarter en route to a 15-2 runaway victory over unranked Totino-Grace (13-4) on Tuesday, June 5, at Chanhassen High School.
 
Did we say magical?
 
Eden Prairie, which reached the title game in three of the previous five MSHSL-sanctioned state tournaments (only to lose all three), never previously had “The Hobbits” dashing and darting around the turf, materializing seemingly out of nowhere.
 
Eden Prairie advances to play No. 2-ranked and top seeded Eastview on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Chanhassen High.
 
The Eagles lost to Benilde-St. Margaret’s 9-3 in last year’s title game.
 
“A lot of us were on the sidelines last year, kind of just watching that game,” said junior Brooks Armitage, one of Eden Prairie’s three undersized attackmen tagged with the “Hobbits” nickname by coach Ryan Ward. “Those older guys did a nice job of teaching us. We just had to fill into their roles this year. So far, we’re looking good. We just need everyone to contribute.”
 
Armitage scored five goals, and Venable and Gravelle each added one. Eden Prairie led 7-0 at halftime and 11-0 heading into the fourth, when most of its starters, including the Hobbits, watched from the sideline.
 
Eight players scored for Eden Prairie in a dizzying display of offensive depth.
 
“Everyone was contributing, we’re not just relying on three four guys,” the 5-foot-9, 150-pound Armitage said. “Everyone was out there working hard, getting looks. We just ran our offense.”
 
Eden Prairie and Eastview, a 15-6 runaway winner over Edina in Tuesday’s other semifinal, both have an embarrassment of top-end players.
 
Ward says the Lightning might have the state’s best attackman in Ryan McNamara, but he says he has the best midfielder in Jake Woodring and defenseman in Connor Gnazzo.  
 
“Obviously McNamara is really good,” Ward said. “He is going to get his, probably. But he is going to have to earn it because Connor is just steady.”
 
-- Loren Nelson, MN Lax Hub editor

Defense shines for Eden Prairie, too


Eden Prairie defenseman Jonathan Brand helped limit Totino-Grace to just four shots on goal in Eden Prairie's 15-2 state semifinal victory. Photo by Helen Nelson

Offense quickly became a part of the second boys lacrosse state semifinal on Tuesday night. Eden Prairie scored 64 seconds into the game, adding two more goals within the next 50 seconds.
 
The scoring continued for Eden Prairie in a convincing 15-2 victory, but it nearly never started for Totino-Grace. Eden Prairie's overwhelming defense held its opponent scoreless through the first three periods, before finally giving up a goal midway through the fourth period.
 
"I feel like our defense has been spot on all year," Eden Prairie goalkeeper Anthony Perkins said after allowing just a single goal. "We had an idea of what they like to do, and we shut them down from the start."
 
Totino-Grace took only 4 shots on goal the whole game compared to Eden Prairie's 27.
 
Brooks Armitage scored five goals, three in the first half, while Dillon Rudrud added three and Jake Adkins two for Eden Prairie. Seven players provided the 10 assists.
 
Eden Prairie advances to face Eastview in Thursday's state championship game at 8 p.m. at Chanhassen High School.
 
-- Jason Gonzalez, Star Tribune staff writer

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Game Recap


Brooks Armitage

Brooks Armitage scored five goals to pace third-ranked Eden Prairie as it tore apart Totino-Grace 15-2 in a Minnesota State High School League state tournament semifinal on Tuesday, June 5 at Chanhassen High School in Chanassen. 

With one more goal, Armitage would have tied the state tournament single-game scoring record of six, set by Kip Dooley of Blake in 2008. Most of Eden Prairie's starters, including Armitage, sat out long stretches of the second half. 

Eden Prairie scored five times in the first five minutes to jump out to a lead that would only continue to grow. Eden Prairie’s offense and defensive prowess was too much for Totino-Grace, which simply looked overmatched. 

Eden Prairie led Totino-Grace 11-0 through three quarters. Totino-Grace mustered two goals in the final frame. 

Totino-Grace was outshot by a 25-4 margin and Eden Praire starting goaltender Anthony Perkins made two saves on three shots on goal before exiting in the fourth quarter. 

Dillon Rudrud had four points (three goals, one assist) as 10 different players registered points for Eden Prairie. 

Junior midfielder Jake Woodring and sophomore attackman Charlie Venable each had a goal and two assists for Eden Prairie.

Totino-Grace goaltender Jack Burn made 10 saves on 25 shots.

-- Walker Orenstein, MN Lax Hub staff

1. Brooks Armitage, Eden Prairie
Coming within one goal of tieing a tournament record is plenty good enough to earn a No. 1 star. The junior attackman netted five goals before being pulled late in the game. In his last two games, Armitage has nine goals and zero assists. Talk about a pure scorer.

2. Jake Woodring, Eden Prairie
The junior midfielder was his usual fantastic self, notching a goal and two assists. He has eight points in his last two games (three goals, five assists) and has been impossible to contain in wins over Totino-Grace and Minnetonka.

3. Arik Andreen, Eden Prairie
Although he didn’t score any points, the junior defenseman captained a crew that held Totino-Grace to two goals (he was probably sitting by the time they scored) and only four shots. Have to give some credit to the defense!

-- Walker Orenstein, MN Lax Hub staff

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